A Study of Middle School and College Students' Mental Mathematics Abilities in Real-World Contexts
PublisherState University of New York at Fredonia
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AbstractThis study examines the thought processes employed by middle school and undergraduate college students to mentally solve situational mathematics problems. It was hypothesized that non-major undergraduate students would use more efficient mental strategies than middle school students to solve in-context arithmetic problems, though both undergraduate students and middle school students would have equal accuracy. The study also compared age and strategy choice, as well as indicated perception of mathematical abilities and accuracy. It was further hypothesized that both undergraduate students and middle school students would lack confidence in their mental computation abilities, possibly affecting their accuracy. The results of this study were in partial support of the hypothesis; it was indicated that college students were more efficient than middle school students (p-value = 0.019), but there was no statistical significance in accuracy between middle school and college students when solving in-context mathematics problems mentally. In-context problems consisted of calculating change, percent tip, percent discount, and gas mileage. Furthermore, there was no statistical significance between confidence in mathematical abilities and accuracy on the assessment (p-value = 0.298). Overall confidence in mathematics skills (on a Likert scale of 1-5) for middle school students (.......=4.3) and college students (.......=4.0) was not statistically significant (p-value = 0.306). Additional results indicate that the use of efficient strategies had statistical significance on accuracy when solving these problems.
- Master's Theses 
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